Picente Hosts Second Dairy Farmer Forum

Sustainability Action Plan Reviewed with Oneida County Dairy Farmers

Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. led a forum Monday night in which the county’s Dairy Farmer Sustainability Action Plan was reviewed by more than two dozen local dairy farmers at Cornell Cooperative Extension in Oriskany.

The two-hour forum presented Oneida County dairy farmers with an in-depth review of the action plan and an update on its implementation. It also provided those in attendance with the opportunity to offer input on plan improvements.

“I want our dairy farmers to know that Oneida County’s commitment to finding solutions for their struggles is unwavering,” Picente said. “From the first pledge I made during my State of the County Address in March, to the constructive first forum we held and the resulting action plan that is already being implemented, to this evening’s event, I will continue to do everything in my power to assist our dairy farmers. Agriculture is vital to the future of this community and we must do all we can to preserve it.”

After the extensive input dairy farmers provided after the first forum that took place in May, Picente presented the Oneida County Dairy Farmer Sustainability Action Plan in late August, and since that time, multiple items have or are in the process of being implemented such as:

  • A County Department of Public Works “Dairy Crew” the addresses infrastructure issues specifically relating to dairy farmers.
  • Raising awareness of New York State’s Agricultural Assessment Program which allows landowners to receive a reduced rate on their property taxes.
  • Putting together an RFP for a marketing campaign that would promote Oneida County dairy products.
  • Devising agricultural student internships through Oneida County Workforce Development.
  • Forming a dairy farm committee that will provide expertise and aid to farmers and act as an advisory board to the County Executive.
  • Exploring options to construct a dairy processing plant on county land through Cornell Cooperative Extension.

During Tuesday’s forum, which included a presentation by the Oneida County Planning Department and officials from Cornell Cooperative Extension and Mohawk Valley EDGE, the farmers in attendance offered input to Picente and County Legislators on how to make the plan even stronger.

They suggested such things as the formation of an agricultural teaching degree program through our local colleges and a tax credit for allowing snowmobilers to utilize their farmlands.

The next session of the ongoing Oneida County Dairy Farmer Forum series is expected to take place in the first quarter of 2019.